August 04, 2004

Fitness Milestone

At 36, I've worn the same pant size since college, and, thanks to a fairly active lifestyle and good genetics, I haven't needed to work very hard to stay that size. But nature finally caught up last summer and I noticed my waistbands getting tighter. I never actually bought a larger size, but during the fall I did buy a couple of pairs of pants with an expandable waistband. Cheating? Maybe.

I made a resolution at the beginning of the new year to finally incorporate regular exercise into my daily routine, and began doing situps and pushups every day. Four months later, at my annual physical, I was happy to find my blood pressure at the lowest I can remember (112/52) but very shocked to find my cholesterol level in the 230s (with a bad LDL/HDL ratio). It has always been in the mid-100s. My doctor put me on Niacin for the time being and we will follow up soon to re-check the level. In the meantime, I resolved to improve my diet and incorporate some aerobic exercise.

Shortly after that checkup, Jake came into our lives, and he has been an angel. Every night since April, I have progressively gone from walking to jogging to running with that dog for thirty minutes.

Wanting to find an objective way to measure my physical fitness progress, I went Googling around today. Surprise, surprise, surprise. The USMC has posted a helpful reference to the physical fitness and swimming requirements for Marine Corps courses. Even better, it lays out the point scoring system and provides rankings by age. Perfect.

So tonight I administered my first USMC-style PFT. I managed a three-mile run in 21:35, 39 situps in 2 minutes, and 4 pull-ups. Scoring against that chart, I passed each component of the test and came up with 138 total points, putting me in the 3rd Class for my age (not great, but better than "Unsatisfactory").

Not bad for a civilian. Having an objective milestone is important, and up to this point I have merely been working on consistent exercise. Now I can work on improving that score.

Posted by JohnL at August 4, 2004 09:45 PM

That's very cool. Congratulations to you!

Posted by: RP at August 5, 2004 08:50 PM


Posted by: John Lanius at August 5, 2004 10:37 PM

Personally, I'm a little scared to follow the links you've put up for this.

Also, I seem to recall that one thing you should consider measuring in terms of fitness is how long after the exercise it takes your heart rate to back down to normal. For whatever it's worth, that's my recollection of one measure.

Posted by: RP at August 6, 2004 11:46 AM

Yeah, I'm just gonna pretend I didn't see that... ; )

Posted by: Key at August 6, 2004 12:38 PM

Key and I are gonna be in the corner eating little chocolate donuts. I don't know about you, but little chocolate donuts have been on my training table for years. (with thanks to John Belushi and SNL).

Posted by: RP at August 6, 2004 01:39 PM

My resting heart rate is down to 47 bpm. Haven't really measured the peak heart rate and how long it takes to decline, but I'll check that out.

P.S. <homer voice>Little chocolate donuts. Mmmmm.;</homer voice>

Posted by: John Lanius at August 6, 2004 03:53 PM

You remember that fake SNL commercial from the 70's?

Posted by: RP at August 9, 2004 10:49 AM

Unfortunately, it didn't come immediately to mind! I remember Chevy Chase as Julia Child, Fr. Guido Sarducci, Rosanne Rosanna Danna, Land Shark, the Wild and Crazy Guys, but not the chocolate donuts bit. Funny what sticks in the long-term buffer and what disappears.

Posted by: John Lanius at August 9, 2004 11:36 AM

Hallo you! Great site. I found exactly the information I was looking for. I will recommendyou page to all my friends.

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